As a small independent software developer we don’t have a huge staff. There are exactly two of us: Greg and myself, so if we’re traveling together we have to be able to support customers. That means Internet access and some means of answering the phone. These are not as easy as I’d like when traveling internationally, so I thought I’d share our approach.
Roaming data is expensive, and the “limits” are going to be exceeded. Even with AT&T’s highest roaming package calls are still 35c a minute and data runs at 15c MB. Not everywhere has great WiFi either, or – as is the case in Australia – most homes have a data package under 2 GB a month.
Ultimately I decided that we need to the data regardless. Instant and Personal Hotspots have made traveling more convenient. Therefore I just decided to not worry about it. While 15c GB is outrageous, the total amount of money for the convenience of always on, almost everywhere internet for phone and iPad, wasn’t really that much in the context of the cost of traveling.
The challenge has been to adequately, and affordably, answer the business phone. The solution that has evolved is interesting. Our business number is a Google Voice number. It is directed to whatever ‘real’ phone numbers we want. Normally that would be our Vonage number and our cell phones. This works perfectly for when we travel in the US because there’s no incremental cost on the cell phones.
But travel internationally…. Enter the Vonage Extensions app. When a call comes to the Vonage number it not only ‘rings’ on the analog phone connected to the box, but to the Extensions app on our iPhones. Via the data network, not the voice network. We can answer it anywhere we have a data connection whether that be via WiFi or cellular data.
It’s a whole new world of communication opportunities: as long as we have the all-important internet connection!